Three suburban school principals have been honored as the best in the state for 2013.
The Illinois Principals Association and insurer Horace Mann have named these four educators the Illinois Principals of the Year:
• Elementary schools: Kim Zinman, Joyce Kilmer School, Wheeling Township Elementary District 21.
• High schools: Lazaro Lopez, Wheeling High School, Northwest Suburban High School District 214.
• Assistant Principal of the Year: Jean Aucutt, Vernon Hills High School, Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128.
• Middle schools/junior highs: Jeremie Smith, Mattoon Middle School.
These awards recognize principals who have demonstrated a positive impact on their students and learning community. The criteria include:
• Demonstrating a positive impact on education and advocacy for children.
• Ensuring the school climate is positive and reflects high staff and student morale.
• Demonstrating creativity and imagination in bringing about positive change.
• Being willing to take risks to improve student learning.
• Moving actively to implement the goals and objectives of the school.
• Working collaboratively with teachers and other staff to improve the educational program and student achievement.
• Anticipating emerging problems and acting effectively to resolve them.
• Involving the community in the life of the school and using community resources for students.
"Each of these individuals is to be commended for the leadership they exhibit in their schools every day," said Jason Leahy, IPA Executive Director. "School building leaders have one of the most demanding jobs anywhere. The learning communities of these outstanding people have much to be proud of."
Winners will be recognized at the IPA's annual fall conference in October 2013 and assistant principal's conference in June 2014. Each award winner also can move ahead and compete in national competitions.
Sponsor Horace Mann is the largest national multiline insurance company focusing on educators' financial needs. The Illinois Principals Association serves more than 4,500 educational leaders throughout Illinois.